Repeat Drunk Driver Pleads Guilty to Car Chase, Fatal Crash

A repeat drunk driving offender who was caught racing another vehicle pled guilty to a host of charges after the resulting crash killed his passenger.

Jorge Luis Lopez was speeding along Highway 78 in a 1991 Honda Civic, apparently racing a westbound sedan that was also speeding, when an officer attempted to pull them over.

The sedan slowed down, but Lopez took off, fleeing at speeds of up to 100 mph and merging onto northbound Interstate 5.


Lopez exited onto Mission Avenue, still traveling at about 80 mph, before he hit a dip in the road on Mesa Drive and veered out of control, crashing into a parked pickup truck.

Paramedics airlifted Lopez to Scripps La Jolla Hospital where he was treated for his injuries. His passenger, 21-year-old Marco Gutierrez, and also the defendant’s brother-in-law, died at the scene.

Before the crash, Lopez had a prior DUI conviction and three speeding tickets, including one where he was traveling over 100 mph.

On April 24, Lopez pleaded guilty to:

  • Voluntary manslaughter
  • Drunken driving with injury
  • Reckless evasion causing injury
  • Participating in a speed contest causing death
  • Assault with a deadly weapon
  • Three counts of assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer

Lopez is scheduled to be sentenced on July 24, and according to the prosecutor, he could spend up to 19 years in prison.

Drunk and reckless drivers make the road a more dangerous place for everyone. If you or a loved one has been injured in a drunk-driving accident, call Bonnici Law Group, APC to discuss your case. Our firm has a proven track record of defending victims of drunk driving and keeping the streets of San Diego safe for our residents.

[Did You Know: 50 to 75 percent of drunk drivers continue to drive with a suspended license.]

Bonnici Law Group, APC—San Diego car accident attorney